With thanksgiving RIGHT around the corner, every blog, market, and cooking show is bursting at the seams with creative ways to serve a memorable meal on November 22. Rarely though is there a practical solution regarding how to maintain a SANE perspective when the frantic feeding frenzy begins.
Don’t lose hope. There IS a way to confidently savor a holiday meal without a bulging belly or lingering guilt.
Below are the top 3 ways I’ve personally found and professionally created to provide freedom for others [with my #1 secret for portion control to BOOT!]
eat with gusto
Before we can even have a discussion about WHAT or HOW MUCH to eat – I need to draw your attention to HOW to eat. There’s a moment in the movie Amelie where it highlights the simple pleasures in life, one of them being the pleasure of cracking the top of a crème brulée. I get giddy thinking about doing that. OR, think about the crispness of sweet potato fries or the smoothness of chocolate. Food is meant to be fully enjoyed. Once you have filled your plate, enjoy, savor, and zestfully DINE on whatever you have chosen. We eat with more than our taste buds. If you SLOW DOWN and take a moment to savor the array of color you design on your plate [almost as though it is art on a canvas] you will remember so much more than feeling like turkey stuffing post meal. Feel the textures. Let your taste buds come alive. LET yourself go “OOOH my goodness this is so good.” As the plates of greens + turkey and gravy make their way to you, don’t just settle for foods you think you SHOULD eat. Now is the time to upgrade your choices by reaching for the foods that strike your fancy based on their beauty + color + smell. Thanksgiving hosts dishes made with LOVE from friends and family. By choosing to indulge in these foods with INTENTIONALITY you will indulge in far more than the food alone. The experience itself is worth savoring with more than just the taste buds.
partake with practical portions
Now that you’ve chosen your foods and are gleefully about to dive into the foods you have chosen it’s time to starting thinking about SIMPLE ways to stay within reasonable limits sans calculator, graph, gram or cup measurement. Intuitive eating would prevent us from having to think about portions at all. But seeing as it is a skill set typically trained out of us at the ripe old age of 3 I’ve got a secret for you that will prevent you from sacrificing your sanity during the holidays. Better yet, these tactics can be beautifully implemented on a day to day basis.
- Vie for vegetables FIRST. By eating veggies first you’re giving your body an abundant source of FIBER and most importantly the vitamins and minerals it CRAVES. Aim to consume 2 “fists”- yes, FISTS of vegetables before diving into anything else on the plate. You’ll notice if you put your fists together they happen to be relatively equivalent to 1/2 of a plate.
- Power up on your protein SECOND. Once you’ve savored your fists of vegetables, it’s high time to power up on the protein scene. Whichever proteins you’ve chosen will suffice whether it’s turkey, cornish game hen or duck, aim to consume a “palm” of protein. While this may seem shy compared to your uncle Joe, let that settle before reaching for more and you might just be pleasantly surprised how full you feel in about 20 minutes.
- Cherish your carbs THIRD. Now that you’ve filled up on vitamins + minerals + protein, all the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rolls are calling your name. You’ll have an incredible sense of satiety + sanity instead of anxiety and haste as you dive into these more indulgent foods last. Don’t forget about that pecan pie too! When you’re thinking about an appropriate portion of carbohydrates… aim to savor 1/2 fist portions of whichever carbs you have chosen, setting your fork down between each bite to intentionally + intuitively decide if you need more. Recognize that you’ve been able to taste test the best of what the table has to offer allowing you to sit back with a sigh and engage in conversation instead of post meal guilt or discomfort.
give yourself permission to say no…
Even when your sweet grandmother encourages you to go back for that third helping of her “famous sweet potato pie,” confidently remain rooted in what you know makes you feel alive + energized. Don’t choose out of guilt or appeasement. Just because others are eating everything offered in portions they may or may not feel good about, you are experiencing freedom though devotion TO yourself instead of discipline AGAINST yourself.
Now off you go- savor, celebrate, and BE nourished!